Surfing the new P&H Delphin

P&H Delphin 155

Kenny Howell (CCK’s Program Director) and Sean Morley (CCK new boy) had a fabulous couple of hours trying out P&H Sea Kayaks’ new play toy, the Delphin 155.

Kenny Howell

The verdict? To borrow a phrase from a British advertising slogan – “It does what it says on the tin”. It is THE perfect sea kayak playboat. I don’t think I have had so much fun in a sea kayak since the filming of  ‘This is the Sea 2′. Which begs the question, is it better than the Valley Avocet? It was always going to be a hard act to follow, but the answer is a totally biased YES. We think the Delphin totally rocks. 

Kenny styling it.

The outfitting is ‘borrowed’ from the Pyranha whitewater line and is just awesome – comfortable and snug and fully adjustable. As soon as you sit in the boat you know it is unlike any other sea kayak. On flat water it is relatively slow of course, especially compared to my Cetus MV. But it tracks quite well for a 15′ 5″ boat and yet you only have to think about turning and the boat goes exactly where you want it; precisely and effortlessly.

Nicely in the pocket

In the waves, the Delphin takes steeper drops than any any other sea kayak I have surfed. Changes of direction are easy with positive edging and it is REALLY fast on the plane, racing away from the pitching lip or soup, allowing you to hold your line all the way to the beach. Pushing mine and the boat’s limits I took some impossible drops which resulted in an inevitable bongo slide and the boat side-surfed nicely, feeling totally secure thanks to the whitewater style outfitting. The really cool thing was that it was possible to recover from a side surf and go straight again thanks to the strategically offset seat position rear of midships. Indeed I even managed a couple of paddle-out take-offs, something I have never succeeded in doing in any other sea kayak.

Go deep or go home!

I was hugely impressed with the Delphin but you should try it for yourself. Make sure you take it in some waves though because that’s when it all makes sense. Enjoy!

Sean Morley

PS. My boat is available to demo from the Oakland store and Kenny has one at Half Moon Bay.

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4 Responses to Surfing the new P&H Delphin

  1. Haris says:

    Thanks for the write-up.

    I am curious about your comparison with the Avocet–sounds like you felt that Delphin was more maneuverable. Is there any appreciable speed difference between the two? Would Avocet hold any notable advantage when breaking out or distance paddling or would you say they are close enough?


    • Yes, the Delphin is defintely more maneuverable than the Avocet, which is amazing since the Avocet is for sure a playful and forgiving boat. The Delphin is a much better fit for me, with more positive thigh bracing. Speedwise, I think they are comparable. The main difference is the location of the cockpit – the Delphin has an aft of center cockpit which makes it less likely to broach when surfing, especially when the foam pile catches up with you.
      That said, I have had many fun times in the Avocet and it is defintely worthy of consideration, especially for smaller folk because the low deck make them feel tall in the kayak and not swallowed by it.

  2. Tim says:

    I have the Delphin 155.. Overall, I think it is an exciting development in kayak design and a well made, British boat from a company with a strong and well deserved reputation. There is one fly in the soup however… the skeg system. I’m wondering if the issue I’m having is unique to me. Here is a description of the system and the problem I’m having: The click slider slides along the slider bar, push it forward to unlock it, slide it forward to retract the skeg and backward to deploy the skeg. The slider has a release button in it that catches on a notched system allowing you to trim the skeg to any degree of deployment. Retracting the skeg is where the problem is. When you push the slider forward, the skeg retracts, however, when you release the slider button the bungie tension pulls the slider back a bit before it locks on a notch. This results in the skeg being partially deployed even though you have pushed the lever all the way forward. The more tension on the bungie (in the skeg box) the more the skeg remains deployed. The only work around is to push the skeg slider forward without touching the click slider button. This requires some special focus, you need to push the slider forward with your finger tip (finger pointed straight and used as if a pencil or stick). You can also do this with your thumb tip. This works, but is not ideal. Versus not having to look at what you are doing, you need to be very deliberate and focused, likely not an issue for the vast majority of situations. Doing this if you are wearing a neoprene glove is much more challenging as the space you must push on with your fingertip is not big enough to accomodate a digit inside a neoprene glove without hitting the click slider button and resulting in a partially deployed skeg. Obviously, this will compromise your maneuverability. If my description sounds confusing watch this video which features the skeg system in detail:
    You can decrease the tension on the bungie cord in the skeg box by moving the bundie knot back, but I’ve found this does not resolve the problem as in order for it to eliminate the issue I’ve described you need to eliminate almost all tension and you end up having a floppy skeg. Have you experienced this yourself or heard of it elsewhere?

  3. Pingback: Delphin 150 vs. Delphin 155 | calkayak

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